With 43 cases of swine flu reported among school children in the district so far, the Health authorities have stepped up the vigil against Influenza A H1N1 (swine flu) that had begun to scare people since April-May this year.
The first message is not to panic, said K.B. Peethambaran, the Deputy District Medical Officer. There have been cases of over-reaction by parents that had led to the closure of two schools for about 10 days. In three to four other cases the Health authorities had prevailed over the parent-teachers association and the schools to open within two days.
The district Health authorities have focussed on a campaign in schools after the District Collector called for issuing guidelines to the schools in a meeting on the issue. The Deputy Director (Education) had sent rules and guidelines for schools and has initiated awareness on personal hygiene like using a towel or one’s own arm to cover mouth while sneezing or coughing and moving away from the crowd to cough and keeping hands clean.
It has been advised that schools should not insist on having a medical certificate from the student who has contracted the flu and the student should be allowed to remain at home for 7-10 days. Schools have been asked to cut down on excursions and not to take children to crowded places.
The school should inform the District Medical Office and the Collectorate if there is any situation that makes it necessary for the school to be closed down.
The fact that the flu is treatable has been emphasised by the health workers.
The prophylactic actions and treatment measures had seen the district Health authorities distribute 37,000 Tamiflu tablets so far. Overall, the State has received 2,78,000 tablets, of which 1,70,000 have been distributed.
So far, five people have died out of a total 209 cases of swine flu reported in the district. “All the cases are not strictly from the district as many have come into the district for tertiary care facility”, said Dr. Peethambaran. Of the five deaths, one person who died on Friday was from Thiruvalla while another person was from Thrissur.
On an average about 3-4 cases are confirmed in a day. The swine flu management team here has taken 621 throat swabs till October 30. Apart from the Government hospitals in Aluva, Perumbavur and the district General Hospital, the Co-operative Medical College Hospital and private hospitals like Little Flower Hospital, Angamaly; Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, Edappally and Lakeshore Hospital and Research Centre, Nettoor are the major tertiary care hospitals for swine flu treatment.
Screening is being done at all primary health care centres as well though patients are referred to treatment hospitals from there.